When it comes to what to pack for a Uganda gorilla safari, there are almost the same rules that apply to the general packing for a holiday in Africa. However, there are some rules and guidelines that are very strict. For this case they are supposed to be followed by all tourists and other visitors who want to participate in a gorilla trek in any of the two countries.
What you should know is that gorilla trekking is done in the ancient Bwindi Forest in Uganda and in hilly volcanic mountains in Congo. So in this case, the weather is very unforeseeable and this implies it can rain at any time. When it rains, the trekking trails become very slippery, and muddy and hence require travelers coming to Uganda and Congo to wear what to pack for a gorilla safari holiday.
Make sure you have the right gears before you go gorilla trekking. Recommendations include;
- Travel documents are the first things to pack for a gorilla safari including valid passport, Yellow Fever Card, necessary visas, and travel insurance plus medical documents are also necessary.
- Gardening gloves invest in some cheap gardening gloves to take with you on the trek. Often when you get into the dense bush you need to grab trees and branches with thorns on it to help you along.
- Gators, it is well worth taking gators with you to protect your legs from the low gorse bushes and to prevent safari ants from getting into your shoes or under your clothing.
- Walking stick, I cannot emphasize enough how helpful these are. If you get damp or steep ground these seriously help you along with the muddy steep slopes. This walking stick helps to support your stand steal.
- Hiking shoes, you really need proper hiking boots with seriously good grip, but sneakers aren’t adequate. A good quality pair of hiking shoes from the store will serve you well, though they are expensive but so are your ankles don’t break, don’t risk.
- Camera, don’t let yourself be disappointed by just taking an iPhone if you can take a good camera with you. You will not believe how close you can get to take some great shots.
- Porters, for a fee of $15-$20 US you can hire a porter from the local community. Not only does this help the community by providing each porter with a wage for a day but they carry your backpacking for you and if needed help you along the way. Definitely worthwhile having along the way even better you are giving back to the Bwindi community and Virunga community.
- Light rain jacket, Bwindi forest and Virunga are both rain forests and there is good chance of rain almost the year around. So pack a lightweight poncho or rain jacket that you can roll up in your bag and bring out if necessary.
- Energy snacks, the trek to the mountain gorillas is not impossible but it is tough. But remember to take any rubbish with you as you go.
- Long shirts and pants, it is beat not to expose your skin during in the jungle during trek. Remember to tuck your trousers into your socks; you really do not want safari ants crawling up there.
- Drinking water and lunch box is a must because you
- Sunscreen, sunglasses with neck trap
- Insect repellent
- Binoculars, flashlight
- Waterproof container for your cameras. Yes I know there are waterproof cameras but even they to be sure just put them in a waterproof container. When you are slipping and falling on muddy grounds you do not want your precious photos damaged nor do you?
- If you desire headgear (hats), a baseball cap is recommended as gorillas are familiar to them.
It is important to know what you are getting into before setting out on a gorilla trekking safari. The hike through the forest is challenging and tough going. Your guide in the forest will always have machete a path through the ferns that clog the undergrowth, but it is within reach for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will get muddy though, beneath the forest canopy the humidity is very high.
After hiking for hours through the scrub, you will come across your allocated gorilla family, peacefully, playing, and eating, along with their young ones. Mountain gorillas are mainly active between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM, so during this time, they consume vast quantities of food for sustenance. Meaning they search for food during the early hours, resting around midday then foraging again in the late afternoon before sleeping. So during the resting period, mutual grooming takes place and is important for reinforcing the social bonding within the group as well as keeping the gorillas’ hair parasite and dirt free.
The young ones will chase, wrestle and somersault, this enables them to learn how to behave and communicate within the group. You only have a maximum of one to observe and watch these gentle creatures in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking both in Uganda and Congo is something you never ever forget on your safari in Africa.